The Wheel Of Life is a much-loved coaching tool. I use it often to check for gaps and overload in key areas in my life. My career and entrepreneur coaching clients also find it really useful for recalibrating their personal and professional balance.
This simple, flexible tool helps you identify where you spend most of your time and how satisfied you are with this arrangement. If you feel your life is out of balance, marking up a wheel of life template can give you a blueprint for setting things to rights.
More of, less of, it’s all good
The wheel of life can highlight where change will give you better balance. It can also confirm where you’ve got the current balance right.
Recently my ongoing back injury flared up. This triggered a wheel of life review to discover where minding my health sat as a priority in my busy ‘business focused’ life. Straight away, I knew I needed to shift my mindset. Working on my health has to be a regular thing, not just something I pick up when back pain strikes.
I’m a practical, driven doer who thrives on getting stuff done. I’m also a hard wired curious life long learner and researcher. A recent wheel of life dispelled any nagging doubts I had about the value of spending a sizable chunk of my time totally immersed in exploring new ideas. This review was all about how I spent my working day. When I saw my low satisfaction scores for time spent on study and professional development I realised these activities deserved their prominent place in my working day.
One of my clever career focused clients felt torn between time spent on treasured creative projects and her job. Doing the wheel of life helped her to appreciate the pivotal big picture role those projects play in sustaining her quality of life. As a result she rejigged her mid term priorities and felt completely guilt free about putting her creative work first.
In essence you begin by:
1. Labelling the segments with key areas of your life such as career, friends, family, finances etc.
NOTE: Alternatively you might examine a single area such as how you spend your working day.
2. Shading each pizza slice from the inside outwards showing how important each area is to you, or how happy or fulfilled you currently feel there. The less shading outwards, the lower score for that area.
3. Bolding the line on one of the inner circles in each area of the wheel to show how much time you spend on each area. The closer the line is to the centre, the less time you are spending.
NOTE: This will help you assess if you are spending enough time on the most important areas of your life.
Once you’ve completed this initial review:
- Reflect on whether you have the right balance between the segments you shaded as important. NOTE: How happy or fulfilled do you feel given the amount of time you spend in each area? Do you need to review some areas?
- Having marked where you are for each area, mark where you want to be in terms of fulfilment or time spent. Reflect on what you need to do to get there.
- Set some SMART goals to help you bridge the gap.
This infographic illustrates the steps very clearly.
Two top tips to promote perspective
1. Prioritise the positives
Repeating the wheel of life can help you keep track of your bigger picture while staying focused on the details. I recommend a review every few months as well as whenever something major shifts in your life. I also find a pre birthday review often reveals some interesting insights.
As an experiment, ask a friend to work with you on only talking about the positives in each life area. I did this at my recent birthday review with great results.
Knowing I’m prone to lapsing into negatives around goals I haven’t met in the previous year I was curious to test the ‘positives only’ approach.
It worked! I found myself feeling especially grateful for my lovely generous spirited partner and the skilful, caring health professionals who are helping me manage my back injury. Choosing to take a positive perspective also prompted me to pat myself on that same back for my many personal and business achievements since my last birthday!
2. Easy does it
Doing the wheel of life can energise and motivate you to change. Be gentle with yourself as you rebalance your time and resources. Many of us are inclined to give ourselves a hard time about the things we see as flaws or failings. Once we’ve identified the need to do things differently we can impose some pretty rigid new rules in our quest for quick results.
I’m a fan of small but significant steps over sweeping changes. Like activist and writer Thomas Merton I’m convinced that “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”
Keen to recalibrate your career, business or life balance? Let’s turn the wheel together (excuse the pun!).
By Jo Green, Career Change Coach
I know how it feels to be lost in your career. That’s why I coach, to create learnings, action and help others get stuff done! Changing your career can be lonely and confusing so I'll walk alongside you, be your cheerleader and help you figure out what meaningful work is for you.
Drop me a note to organise a free 20 minute consultation to chat about your career change and how coaching could help.